GLADIOLAS 2020 Tips and Pictures

2020 has been a good year in the garden. The Gladiolas are performing well.

 Can Gladiolas be left in the ground? I hear this question frequently. The short answer is yes, however, there are reasons why it is beneficial to lift them and replant in the spring. We can discuss that later.

Spring planting time is between April 15 and June 15. Planting in 2 to 3 week intervals extends the blooming time in late summer and early fall. The planting pictured is April 21, 2020, well before the Irises started blooming.

As I planted the corms I mixed a light dressing of a 14-14-14 slow release fertilizer. No watering is necessary until there is 2-3 inches of growth.

 May 20: As the Glads gain height it is good to hill them to help stabilize them to support the 4 to 5 feet tall flower spikes that will be coming later. About a month after planting, the Glads are up about 6 inches and the Irises are peaking. 

 By June 9 the Irises were done, divided and replanted. The Glads are about 12 inches. 

When the Glads are about 6 inches they should be treated for Thrips. Thrips are very small insects that feed on the plant's fluids. They don't always show up, but when they do they can devastate single plants or the entire crop. The damage they do is most evident at blooming time. The flowers will be sickly and wilt before they have a chance to form. I like to spray the plants for prevention with a solution of Miracle Grow and Orthene (systemic insecticide), both as directed. Gladiola leaves repel water, but the solution pools at the base of the plant and is still absorbed. If you want to add a little lemon scented dish soap to the solution, it will help to make it all adhere to the leaves; I have done it with and without the soap. The spraying should be repeated every 2 to 3 weeks through the entire growth cycle. You want to keep the plants healthy right up to digging time so that the Thrips don't get carried over along with the corms.

 By July 6 flower spikes were forming and getting ready to bloom. Keep the Glads well watered; not soggy. I water by flooding the rows. Every three to four weeks I add Miracle grow at the head of the row and let it flood and soak the entire row.

 July 9 the flower spikes were beginning to open. Even though these were all planted the same day, blooming will take place over a period of weeks. Each corm is an individual and grows at its own pace. 

 Gladiola flower spikes 5 feet tall with unparalleled variety and color are spectacular. Gladiolas are great cut flowers. I like to plant by the hundreds so I can share bouquets with family and friends.

As a cut flower, every floret on the spike will bloom; from the bottom up. As the lower florets wilt, pick them off and cut the bottom of the stem. Your arrangement will get shorter, but it will look nice right up to the last floret 

Gladiolas will give you weeks of spectacular color. When the blooming is done the Glads are still growing. Make sure to cut all remaining flower spikes so that the growth is directed to the new corms and cormlets that will be next year's crop. The new corms need about 5 to 6 weeks to fully develop. Harvesting the corms can wait even longer. 

We can talk about harvesting, curing and winter storage another time.

It's not hard to get hooked on Gladiolas

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